It was the last day of the Festival of Kabir in Bangalore, the final concert of qawwali by Fariduddin Ayaz & Abu Mohammed from Karachi, Pakistan and the 1350-seat auditorium was packed to the brim. Farid Sahab told the audience that his family was originally from Delhi and flung across the border by the Partition in 1947. "Here, I am called a Pakistan-wallah, and there they call me a Dilli-wallah!” he said laughingly. The humour was dry, but laced with the distinct flavour of loss.
When he burst into the famous Rajasthani folk song ‘Padhaaro Mhaare Des (Come To My Country)’, the moment crackled with a poignant beauty. "Let's go to that undivided land," he said, "To that country beyond India and Pakistan, that undivided space where we all belong!" Many in the audience wept, including Mukhtiyar Ali, a beautiful folk singer from Rajasthan sitting in the front row.
This festival happened in Feb 2009, within four months of an attack which killed 200 people at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai leading to the immediate capture of a Pakistani terrorist in November 2008. We organised this festival amidst a growing jingoism and anti-Pakistan mood in India. Despite the pessimism and lack of help from many quarters, we managed to secure visas for our Pakistani singer friends to join other Kabir singers from Malwa, Rajasthan, Kutch and Karnataka at this festival.
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Fariduddin Ayaz & Abu Mohammed are acclaimed qawwals from Karachi, Pakistan and belong to the 700-year-old 'Qawwal Bachchon Ka Gharana' of Delhi. They sing in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Hindi, Poorbi, Persian, Arabic and Turkish, intermingling with aplomb the voice of Kabir with a range of Sufi poets including Jalaluddin Rumi, Sachal Sarmast, Zaheen Shah and others.
Contact them at: +92-300-2105393, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead Vocals & Harmonium: Fariduddin Ayaz & Abu Muhammad
Chorus & Clapping: Ghulam Akram, Ali Akbar, Gayoor Ahmed,
Moiz-uddin, Mubark Haris, Zarrar Ahmed, Shah Laeegh-uddin, Shehzad Hussain
Dholak: Muhammad Ashfa, Muhammad Nawab Kallan
Translation: Shabnam Virmani
Cameras: Tahireh Lal & Vinay Dhodgeri
Editing: Aarthi Parathasarthy
Sound: Dipanshu Mitra
Sub-Titling: Mamta Kandari
Collection: The Kabir Project
Date of Recording: Mar 01, 2009